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Profile for Andrew Sutherland > Reviews

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Content by Andrew Sutherland
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Andrew Sutherland "Sutho" (Surrey outposts)
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Whiskas Healthy Coat Cat Treats 55 g
Whiskas Healthy Coat Cat Treats 55 g
Price: £9.90

4.0 out of 5 stars Very similar to Temptations and Dreamies, 24 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside: much like Whiskas Temptations and Dreamies, which my (otherwise very fussy) cat adores. Not surprisingly, she loves these too – wolfs them down. Seems to eat them with just as much relish as the aforementioned. I’ve not noticed any improvement in the quality of her coat though, but the ingredients seem a little more virtuous than Temptations, so I’m happy to switch to these as her No. 1 ‘treat’ food. I prefer the Temptations packaging though, since you can ‘rattle’ the box to call her in from the garden, whereas these come in a little ziplock bag instead. A very minor gripe.


The Knowledge Red Wine
The Knowledge Red Wine
by Peter Grogan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £8.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good general overview, focussing on the major grape varieties and wine-producing regions, 24 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Knowledge Red Wine (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is very much an introductory primer pitched at the level of somebody, like me, who a) already likes red wine, b) knows a little bit, but not terribly much, and c) wants a potted overview to fill in the gaps. It’s categorically *not* a book for seasoned experts or anyone looking to become one. But it’s also *not* some entry-level 1001-wines-to-try-before-you-die type book… there’s no specific checklist of recommended wines or anything like that. Rather, across 140-odd-pages, you get a decent 20 page overview of the major grape varieties and then the rest of the book is given over to a tour of the major wine-producing regions: France, Europe, USA/Southern Hemisphere. There are also short, informative-but-not-life-changing chapters with tips on buying and storing the stuff and introduction about how it’s made. Grogan’s writing is economical, educational and lays bare his knowledge and passion for the subject but without becoming overly mannered or self-consciously highbrow, making him perfect for a ‘Beginner’s Guide’ like this one. He’s also got a knack for describing tastes in way that is descriptive and evocative but not full of silly Jilly Goolden-type
adjectives, although actually there’s not terribly much in the way of specific critical engagement with individual wines; this is pitched more broadly, with generalities about typically what to expect from which types of wine. He is to some degree conscious of budget but I wouldn’t say that this is going to help you particularly when you’re in the supermarket armed with less than a tenner– as he says himself when discussing South Africa: “This book is about the interesting stuff that’s worth the effort of finding (and if needs be, paying for).” The book is part of a new series of non-fiction ‘pocket’ guides to a variety of subjects called The Knowledge being published by Quadrille… the obvious comparison would be the ‘Very Short Introduction’ series (i.e. subject expert writing a potted overview of the topic) although I’d say these are pitched at a slightly more ‘Beginner’s’ level and also, from a practical point of view, are slightly too big and bulky (they’re hardbacks) to fit in one’s pocket!


The Knowledge: Jazz
The Knowledge: Jazz
by John Fordham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written primer aimed at curious jazz novices, not seasoned fans, 21 Aug. 2015
This review is from: The Knowledge: Jazz (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I’ve always like John Fordham’s jazz criticism in the Guardian – his writing is quite economical and educational and lays bare his knowledge and passion for the music but without becoming overly mannered or self-consciously highbrow in the way some jazz critics can be when critiquing the more experimental and avant-garde stuff which I myself like, but which is often discussed in quite an exclusive way, whereas Fordham’s writing is quite inclusive, making him perfect for a ‘Beginner’s Guide’ like this one. It’s pretty short – 150 pages, about a third of which is given over to a (decent) potted history of jazz music and then the rest comprises a series of short biographies of various jazz ‘visionaries’ spanning the various eras and sub-genres. A too-short list of key recordings wraps things up. I personally found the format frustrating because the ‘visionaries’ biographies are so short and don’t really critically engage with the artists’ discographies… so you end up with a meagre 150 words or so on somebody as seismic as John Coltrane, which is clearly insubstantial to say much more than who he was. Obviously he’s had to be discriminating in choosing who to profile and I was disappointed to see some favourites omitted (even big names like Mingus, Ayler, Mehldau) but such is the nature of a brief introductory guide… to make amends he includes a ‘other key contributors’ round-up at the end of each series of biogs. Ultimately, for me, the format is too restrictive – but I’m already a fairly well-informed fan of the genre so I guess that’s inevitable. This is very much an introductory primer for somebody starting out and wants a potted overview before zeroing in on specific artists or sub-genres; you won’t get that here. The book is part of a new series of non-fiction ‘pocket’ guides to a variety of subjects called The Knowledge being published by Quadrille… the obvious comparison would be the ‘Very Short Introduction’ series (i.e. subject expert writing a potted overview of the topic) although I’d say these are pitched at a slightly more ‘Beginner’s’ level and also, from a practical point of view, are slightly too big and bulky (they’re hardbacks) to fit in one’s pocket!


Garnier Skin Naturals Pure Active Scrub 150ml
Garnier Skin Naturals Pure Active Scrub 150ml
Price: £4.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Just the right amount of 'scrubbiness', 19 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good quality face scrub: just the right amount of 'scrubbiness' (technical term); the ‘micro-beads’ (salt, basically) are sufficiently abrasive to do the job –I can actually feel it exfoliating my face, and my nose and forehead do look and feel somewhat cleaner and clearer afterwards… but it’s not so coarse to feel like you're 'sanding' your face, as can be the case with some scrubs. I personally have fairly sensitive skin and have suffered no ill effects, so it must be pretty gentle (indeed it claims to be suitable for daily use).


Targus Pulse Laptop Sleeve for 13-14.1 inch Laptop - Black/Grey
Targus Pulse Laptop Sleeve for 13-14.1 inch Laptop - Black/Grey
Price: £12.53

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good quality sleeve but slightly too big for my 13" MacBook, 18 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Good quality neoprene sleeve from Targus. Size-wise, it's a little roomy for my MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2010)... I'd say there's a spare 1cm in width and 2cm length. The product description says "Fits most Laptops from 13 to 14.1 inch" but if you want a snug fit, which is normally to be preferred for sleeves like this (as opposed to cases), then I wouldn't get this for anything less than 14-inch laptops (for which it would size perfectly).


L'Oreal Garnier Intensive SOS Hand Cream - 100 ml
L'Oreal Garnier Intensive SOS Hand Cream - 100 ml
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Better-than-average hand cream, but not the best and not keen on the strong femine scent, 16 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I get eczema on the palms of my hands and need to keep them well moisturised to stop them drying up... the more 'hardcore' emollients like Diprobase do 'work' but they are way too greasy for regular daytime use so I've found that the best bet is just to use regular hand creams, little and often throughout the day. I've pretty much tried all the big-hitters and can happily recommend this one as above-average at this price point (£3)... but there are better: e.g. Nivea Smooth Nourishing Hand Cream is, in my opinion, superior (same price, similar style). And better still (but a touch more expensive) is Aveeno, easily the best for me. Still, this one absorbs quickly and nicely with minimal greasy residue and, just as important, moisturises dry skin effectively. My main gripe with it is the smell: it's got a fairly strong (and to my mind, quite feminine) scent; not ideal for me (given that I'm a chap). So if you prefer hand creams to have a neutral smell then would not recommend.


WOW Toys Special Day Countdown Calendar
WOW Toys Special Day Countdown Calendar
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Non-specific 'advent'-type calendar with toys to keep that complement existing WOW range, 8 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Advent-type calendar that counts down the 10 days leading up to a non-specific 'special day' of your choosing (e.g. going on holiday, start of school term, whatever you like) rather than 24 days leading up to Christmas, and instead of chocolates, behind each window is a different WOW toy (space-themed in this case). My kids love WOW toys anyway– they’ve got loads: Motorbike Max, Police Patrol Riders, Johnny Jungle Plane, Flip 'n' Tip Fred, Danny's Diving Adventure etc… all of which are basically vehicles plus little human and animal figures that fit inside the vehicles and are identically-sized so they’re interchangeable, so you can switch them around. The toys included with this calendar are identical to the regular WOW range – sturdy little hard plastic figures, simple and well-detailed. They would be fine as stand-alones but if you’ve got WOW stuff already it’s even better because the child can then use the new toys with their existing vehicles/sets. The package itself is, like an advent calendar, little more than flimsy cardboard- use it in the run-up to the special day then bin it, but keep the 10 toys for posterity. Decent idea, especially if you child already has and likes WOW toys.


WOW Toys Birthday Countdown Calendar
WOW Toys Birthday Countdown Calendar
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Birthday-themed 'advent' calendar with toys to keep that complement existing WOW range, 8 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Advent-type calendar that counts down the 10 days leading up to a child’s birthday rather than 24 days leading up to Christmas, and instead of chocolates, behind each window is a different WOW toy. My kids love WOW toys anyway– they’ve got loads: Motorbike Max, Police Patrol Riders, Johnny Jungle Plane, Flip 'n' Tip Fred, Danny's Diving Adventure etc… all of which are basically vehicles plus little human and animal figures that fit inside the vehicles and are identically-sized so they’re interchangeable, so you can switch them around. The toys included with this calendar are identical to the regular WOW range – sturdy little hard plastic figures, simple and well-detailed. They would be fine as stand-alones but if you’ve got WOW stuff already it’s even better because the child can then use the new toys with their existing vehicles/sets. The package itself is, like an advent calendar, little more than flimsy cardboard- use it in the run-up to the birthday then bin it, but keep the 10 toys for posterity. Decent idea, especially if you child already has and likes WOW toys.


Hello Home Snuggle Time Bear Hug Toddler Bed, Cream
Hello Home Snuggle Time Bear Hug Toddler Bed, Cream
Price: £99.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent quality self-assembly cot bed, 7 Aug. 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Surprisingly decent-quality mini-bed, of MDF construction and delivered flatpack. Straightforward self-assembly. Personally find the design a bit twee but to each his own. Fits a 140cm X 69cm mattress (not included). Really heavy compared to the pine cot-bed I already have, which makes it less suitable for us because we only wanted it to leave with family for occasional use when visiting (so would have preferred something more easily portable/put away-able) but it would be perfect as a child’s main bed at home for the very same reason. It’s a hybrid between cot and full-size single bed, being low to the ground and featuring little side guards to stop the child rolling out of bed… but personally I think the guards are too short; they only extend a little at the head of the bed rather than running further down the side of the bed, so not ideal from that point of view. Then again the bed is low enough that falling out of it wouldn’t be a major issue. For this price I could not conceive of a better equivalent from a build point of view; it’s well finished and seems robust.


Tefal IS8360 Instant Control Garment Steamer
Tefal IS8360 Instant Control Garment Steamer
Price: £149.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Overall an excellent product and really useful for last minute grooming!, 29 July 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Initially, the product takes some time to set up, but with the included instructions it isn't too complicated to work out. After sampling the product on two silk tops, I found it had amazing results and instantly removed the wrinkles. A protective glove is also included for your free hand, which makes it that bit easier to use the product. In addition, a fabric brush and lint pad are included to help brush off dirt, hairs etc. and further improve the end result.


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